Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

MAY 2017

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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32 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • MAY 2017 HUMBLE BEGINNINGS The beginning of the business can be traced back to Jerry Lancaster's days as an undergraduate student at Emory Uni- versity in Atlanta. There he met Donna, also an undergrad, and they were married. Donna supported Jerry while he went back to school to get his MBA. Jerry and Donna then traded places: she stayed home to raise their two sons, Brad and Stephen, while he supported the family working as a CPA for Arthur Anderson. After a few years with Arthur Andersen, Jerry took a job with Fuqua Industries, where he helped with the company's government business and headed up their financials. In 1979, Jerry left Fuqua Industries to start Johnson- Lancaster and Associates with Donna and David Johnson. For the first two years of the company's existence, Johnson- Lancaster and Associates did mostly government work. Donna and Jerry's ability to write specs and standards that met the precise requirements of the military served the company well. "We were experts in doing that," Jerry says. While it got off to a good start, things did not go exactly as planned for the fledgling firm. For one, Johnson never sold his other business and, as a result, did not join the Lancasters in their new endeavor. Despite Johnson's decision to not join the business, the Lancasters never bothered to change the company name. "It helped in certain instances. If someone called asking for Mr. Johnson, we knew something was up," Jerry jokes. Second, the company was supposed to be a manufactur- ers' rep firm serving government accounts, not a foodservice equipment dealer. Yet within a year, Johnson-Lancaster and Jerry and Donna Lancaster started the dealership in 1979. They remain active in the business, with Jerry serving as the company's CEO and Donna as vice president. QUIET GIANTS

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